31st May 2023
Introduction: A combine approach to modifiable lifestyle behaviors is crucial given their potential synergistic effects on health. This study will determine differences in children’s time allocation, considering sex and period of the week, and identify family determinants associated with children’s time use.
Methods: We use cross-sectional data from 3-10-year-old Portuguese children (n=8472), collected in 2016/17. Parents reported children’s time use in different behaviors, children’s participation in sports, and family socioeconomic factors. Correlations between time use indicators were made. Multiple linear regressions were performed: 1)using screen time as dependent variable (independent variables: indoor play, outdoor play, school commute, study time, sleep duration; control variables: child characteristics); and 2)using children’s time use indicators as dependent variables (independent variables: family characteristics).
Results: Boys accumulated more screen- and outdoor time; girls more indoor time. But time-use in different activities was similar between sexes. The time spent in different activities was correlated, particularly during the weekdays. Relevant effect on the time spent using screen media devices came from the sleep duration (more sleep=less screen). Also, children engaged in organized sports, spent less time on screen. Lastly, the time devoted for each task or activity was determined by a set of family sociodemographic factors (e.g., urbanization, and parental employment).
Conclusions: Identifying time spent in multiple activities that differ by sex (and associated determinants) can contribute to promotion strategies to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior in young children.